KARACHI: The whistleblower behind the Panama Papers, known as ‘John Doe’, has offered to make the documents behind the leaks available to government authorities and called for better whistleblower protection.

In a statement issued on Friday to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the anonymous source — John Doe — clarified that he did not directly or indirectly work for any government or intelligence agency and the decision to share documents was not for any political purpose but because of the ‘scale of the injustices they described’.

“Thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement (agencies) could access and evaluate the actual documents. ICIJ and its partner publications have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies. I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement (agencies) to the extent that I am able,” read the 1,800-word statement titled “The Revolution Will Be Digitised”.

Citing examples of Edward Snowden and Bradley Birkenfeld, Doe called for whistleblower protection. He said that ‘legitimate whistleblowers’ deserved immunity from government retribution.

The man behind Panama Papers claimed that he had decided to expose ‘Mossack Fonseca’ because he thought its founders, employees and clients should have to answer for their role as shell companies are not only used to evade tax but to carry out a wide array of serious crimes, adding that the legal profession had failed.

The collective ‘failure’

Doe lamented that the system had ‘failed’ to bring to book the rich and mighty and even media and legal process were not delivering. He was of the view that banks, financial regulators and tax authorities were taking decisions that ‘spare the wealthy’ and focus on reining in middle- and low-income citizens.

“Lawyers have become so deeply corrupt that it is imperative for major changes in the profession to take place, far beyond the meek proposals already on the table,” said Doe.

He added that despite tall claims, several major media outlets while allowing their editors to review documents from the Panama Papers, had chosen not to cover them.

“The sad truth is that among the most prominent and capable media organisations in the world there was not a single one interested in reporting on the story. Even Wikileaks didn’t answer its tip-line repeatedly,” reads Doe’s statement.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2016

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